Battling Italy go down to Australia

Italy went down defiantly in front of a home crowd as Australia scored four tries in a 26-7 victory over the Azzurri.

Italy went down defiantly in front of a home crowd as Australia scored four tries in a 26-7 victory over the Azzurri.

The Italians could be forgiven for feeling hard done by in the first half after enjoying a healthy amount of possession and having two tries disallowed.

The first, for a foot in touch, looked like the correct decision but the blues were unlucky to have a second try turned down when Tito Tebaldi intercepted the ball from a line-out but was judged to have been offside.

Conor O’Shea’s men were undone after half an hour when the Wallabies broke down their defences and sent Marika Koroibete in under the posts.

Five minutes later, good link up play between Adam Ashley-Cooper and Koroibete on the wing allowed the latter cross for his and Australia’s second try. Both tries were converted by Matt Toomua to make it 14-0.

Tommaso Allan refused a shot at goal in favour of the touchline just before the break but the subsequent move broke down and Australia cleared their lines to ensure the home side went in at half-time scoreless.

Australia picked up where they left off in the second half crossing through neat work from Taniela Tupou, converted by Toomua.

Moments later Mattia Bellini capitalised on a loose pass from Bernard Foley, playing at 12, and streaked home from 50 metres out to put the Italians on the board for the first time. Converted by Allan.

Australian front-rower, Scott Sio was sin-binned just before the hour mark, but Italy were unable to make the most of their man advantage.

Will Genia came on late and sealed the Italians fate when he scored Australia’s fourth try of the afternoon.

Italy head coach, Conor O’Shea, said: “I am proud because today is an important step for us towards the highest level. “I’m angry because we were denied the Tebaldi try in the first half: when we play like that and we are not rewarded, I’m angry. Would that try change the game? “I won’t say that but the same referee against Scotland in the Six Nations last year had not behaved like that.”

Player watch – Tommaso Allan

The Italian No.10 and captain had some tough decisions to make throughout the game and should be credited for the ambition he showed on his team’s behalf.

Allan, who is currently keeping Carlo Canna on the bench, declined the opportunity to put points on the board from the tee on a couple of occasions to try and get his side back into the game.

His boldness sadly went unrewarded but as it turned out, the points wouldn’t have been enough to get the Italians a result anyway.

Key moment

It looked as though the Italians were capable of capitalising on an Australia side woefully lacking in confidence, and they thought they had at 0-0.

Just ten minutes into the game, Tito Tebaldi intercepted a pass from the line-out leaving him clean through to dot down the ball under the posts.

A look back at the TMO however prompted the officials to rule the try out for offside, much to the disappointment of the Stadio Euganeo.

Stat watch

– The two teams finished the match with equal possession. – Australia had only won three of their 10 test matches this year, prior to the game. – Adam Ashley-Cooper overtook Nathan Sharpe to become the third most capped Wallaby of all time. – The Italians won all seven of their scrums but lost five of their 18 lineouts.